How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
The greatest obstacle to chemically thinning is variable thinning responses related to temperatures following application. Thinning response can vary from very little with unseasonably cool temperatures to almost complete crop removal with excessive temperatures. The benefits, however, outweigh potential risks. To evaluate the effectiveness of the spray thinning, it is a good idea to always leave some unsprayed trees.
SPRAY THINNING WITH NAA
The synthetic plant growth regulator, naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), is used to effectively thin fruit. It is absorbed into the leaves and fruit and then translocated to the fruit stems where an abscission layer forms within 2 weeks of application, causing some of the fruit to drop.
There are two NAA ammonium salt products currently available for use on olive in California: Fruit Fix Concentrate 800 (AMVAC Corp.) and Liqui-Stik Concentrate (Platte Chemical Co.). Fruit Fix is formulated with 800 grams of active ingredient (a.i.) per gallon, whereas Liqui-Stik has 200 grams.Precautions when using NAA:
If used as directed and at moderate temperatures, NAA will not damage fruit or retard fruit growth. Label registrations for NAA cover the period from full bloom to 2.5 weeks after bloom. NAA applications after that point are both illegal and ineffective. Too early an application can overthin; too late an application will yield unsatisfactory results. An application during bloom can eliminate the crop.
Sometimes NAA does kill or curl young, tender tip growth on some new shoots, but this has no lasting effect. The effects of NAA depend upon dose, temperature at time of application and for about one week after, and tree condition.
Complete fruit removal. Occasionally it is desirable to remove the entire crop, as when olives are used in ornamental plantings and ripe olives would otherwise drop and create a nuisance and contribute to the buildup of olive fly populations. For complete crop removal, a solution of 150 ppm NAA is applied in two sprays, the first 2 to 3 days before full bloom and the second a week later. If the bloom period is short, a second spray may not be necessary. A single spray may be applied at full bloom, but often crop removal is incomplete. For large trees, a power sprayer is required; 5 to 10 gallons of solution per tree may be required to give good coverage. Although NAA is not normally used to thin Sevillano variety, treatments as described will result in complete or near complete fruit removal of this variety as well as the other common varieties. Note that spraying with NAA when the temperature exceeds 100?F (38?C) may injure new growth and may also cause some leaf drop. Tender ornamentals nearby should be covered, and drift should be avoided by spraying only under calm conditions and by using moderate pressure to apply a coarse spray.
Timing. Timing is critical to the effectiveness of a thinning spray. Treatments are applied between 12 and 18 days after full bloom. There are two methods of spray timing: one based on the fruit size and the other based on full bloom date. Both methods are acceptable under normal springtime weather conditions, but if abnormally cool weather delays fruit growth, use the fruit-size method. With both methods, treatments are applied as dilute sprays (300-500 gallons per acre.)
Spray volume. To be effective, the spray must cover the undersides of leaves on fruiting branches, but a heavy drenching application such as is used for scale control is usually unnecessary and wasteful. NOTE: For effective thinning do not apply less than 72 ounces of Liqui-Stik Concentrate (200 grams a.i. per gallon) per acre or 18 ounces of Fruit Fix 800 (800 grams a.i. per gallon) per acre. See Table 1 for the amount of NAA to mix in various amounts of water per acre to obtain various spray concentrations.
Apply treatments with either an air blast sprayer or a high-pressure hand-gun sprayer. When most trees bear a heavy crop, an air blast sprayer will do the best job of covering the whole tree. For good spray distribution, drive a properly adjusted air blast sprayer at 1.5 to 2 miles per hour. If only some trees in an orchard are overloaded with fruit, use a high-pressure, hand-gun sprayer with number 8 discs at 200 to 400 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure. If only certain limbs in each tree require thinning, spot spraying may be effective. It is a good idea to leave some unsprayed check areas to help gauge the effectiveness of spray thinning.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Olive